If acquisition of Karate skills is the first stage of Karate training, the second stage would be the consolidation & internalization of these skills. At this stage, skills would be assimilated as skills of your own style. As such, you would be able to apply them in the most natural and effective manner in any occasions. Let call this stage “Consolidated Training”.
Consolidated Training can be further divided into different stages. The first stage emphasizes on the Acquisition of Correct Basics, which includes the correct paths of movements, ways to exert power and breathe, and postures at finish. If incorrect basics are not rectified at this stage, it would be hard to correct them later as they would have become rooted defects or bad habits.
The second stage is Intensity Training. Through this training, the correct basics acquired in the first stage would be further consolidated. As time goes by, these skills would be internalized to such an extent that the delivery of skills would become a second nature of the practitioner’s. When this is achieved, the next step would be strengthening of our bodies so that the techniques would be performed with the required qualities such as adequate power, speed and variation. To achieve this, we must repeat training the same techniques over hundreds and thousands of times; the process is time-consuming and boring. Practitioner would usually use their private time to do the training on top of the normal training class.
The third stage is Application Training – there are two kinds of Application Training: Application Training for Kumite and that for Kata.
Application Training for Kumite shall be carried out with a partner, so that we would be able to know exactly how to apply skills like making the correct steps, keeping good distance from opponent, how to apply good timing and how to give correct reaction and make a fake… and finally absorb all these as your own skills.
Application Training for Kata shall focus on elements like rhythm, variation of power, spiritual concentration, Bunkai and the traditional principles of the style of the Kata itself. We must have a clear understanding of these elements, then inject them into our Kata performance. You are not only required to repeat the same techniques / postures time and time again, you are also required to do a lot of mental training and visualization with the aim to integrate your personal style into the Kata. Ultimately, you would be able to achieve enhancement in effectiveness (in Kumite) and attractiveness (in Kata).
Through these three stages of Consolidated Training, the quality of your techniques will be substantially improved and modified to suit your personal characteristics, and you would then be able to apply the skills most fluently and effectively in any circumstances.